AMP Limited has launched a campaign to find 43,000 ‘lost’ shareholders and connect them with their holdings and A$13 million worth of unclaimed dividends.
Lost shareholders own AMP shares but the company has exhausted all means to contact them or pay their dividends. In many cases, investors – most of whom are likely to now be retirees – provided AMP with a postal address, bank account or email address that is no longer valid.
The average lost shareholder is a 63-year-old male. There are 352 lost Johns, 322 lost Peters and 100 lost shareholders called Margaret. Thirty-seven thousand lost shareholders are Australian while 4,600 are New Zealanders. Most either live – or have lived – in New South Wales (12,000), Victoria (10,000) and Queensland (6,700).
Twenty-two thousand lost shareholders have unclaimed dividends waiting for them to collect, with an average dividend windfall of A$600. One shareholder hasn’t claimed $25,000 in dividends.
The lost holdings represent 22 million shares in total and the average holding is 523 shares although one lost shareholder has 68,000 shares under their name. More than 3,200 shareholdings are jointly held. Some 4,400 of the lost shareholders have passed away, which means that 3.4 million shares are waiting to be transferred to beneficiaries along with associated dividends.
AMP Head of Shareholder Services Marnie Reid said:
“AMP has the third-largest shareholder base in Australia. Many of our approximately 730,000 shareholders are mum-and-dad policy holders who were given shares when AMP and National Mutual (which later became AXA) demutualised in the 90s.
“Some people have forgotten they own shares. Sometimes we lose track of shareholders when they divorce or move home and don’t update their contact details with us. Physical addresses have changed over the years; for example, some roadside mailboxes in rural areas are no longer valid postal addresses. We also have many servicemen and women on our register whose only point of contact was their former base.
“AMP is one of the few companies that regularly helps people to connect with their lost shareholding. Despite our best efforts, however, we haven’t been able to track down these 43,000 shareholders to reunite them with an asset – their shares – and any dividends they’re owed.”
AMP has launched a website findmyampshares.com.au that allows people to use their date of birth to see if they, a family member or client (in the case of financial advisers, solicitors and tax agents) own a stake in AMP. The website also helps people to then claim their shares and any dividends they’re owed.
Ms Reid said:
“We have date of birth details for approximately 37,000 of our lost shareholders, which should make reconnection simple. People can enter a date of birth into findmyampshares.com.au to find out if they’re on the list and then start the process of reconnection. As many of these shareholders are older, we’re encouraging family members to check on behalf of their relatives who may not have internet access. Financial advisers, solicitors and tax agents should also check the list on behalf of their clients.”